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Charlie Haden/Kenny Barron: Night and the City

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Charlie Haden has tended towards themed projects lately: movie music, spirituals and now ballads. And as long as he maintains the extraordinary quality of the company he keeps-Kenny Garrett et al., Hank Jones, Kenny Barron-that’s fine by me. Pianist Barron’s art seems to grow deeper with each passing year, as fleet licks become less predictable, more melodic, and probing harmonies reveal further possibilities for himself and his colleagues to play with. Haden, by contrast, seems to have grown more concise, outlining the changes with just a touch of light rhythmic roll that keeps these slow readings from falling asleep on their feet. Haden and Barron each contribute a tune to the standards that are the main course here: “Body and Soul” belies its well-earned chestnut status, and “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” though the shortest selection here, glistens.